Though he was only born in 1989, Bridges had pretty much perfected a '60s R&B sound all of his own by the time he dropped Coming Home in 2015. That album - his first - was full of highlights and retro-flavoured gems ("Twistin' & Groovin'", "Brown Skin Girl", "Better Man"…), and his second, 2017's Good Thing, showcased an even more refined and expansive palette. "Bad Bad News", "Beyond" and "If It Feels Good (Then It Must Be)" were the key signifiers that a change was afoot.
To borrow from a story told by songwriter Jason Isbell about his first meeting with legendary interpreter Bettye LaVette, Isbell shared LaVette's disdain at being referred to as a "soul" singer. LaVette's retort was that the music she sang was called "rhythm and blues," but that everything she did was soulful. Into this velvety stew we call "soulfulness," you can safely stir in one Mr.
Gold-Diggers Sound, the title of Leon Bridges' new album, is also a tribute to the place it was recorded, a newly swanky hotel/bar/studio in East Hollywood called Gold-Diggers. It's good branding for Bridges, who has always presented himself and his music as timeless, which is to say, of a better time, somewhere back in the sepia-toned 20th century. The sense of place suggested by a studio on Santa Monica Boulevard would seem to harken back to that time, and it sets the tone for Bridges' Hollywood record, which is what this album seeks to be.
Somewhere between the 10 p.m. coffees and 10 a.m. tequilas, Leon Bridges found a groove. Recorded during two years' worth of all-night jam sessions at the East Hollywood studio/dance bar/boutique hotel of the same name, Gold-Diggers Sound is a lean and refined R&B project. Crisp and classy as its ….
Fusing the smooth sultry tones that he has become famous for coupled with some invigorating pop beats and synthesisers, Leon Bridges is back. The R&B and soul leanings from his previous albums are still there, but there is an evolution in his sound. It till feels somewhat retro, but this time those elements are interlaced with some meaty lo-fi vibes along with some psychedelic influences which can be heard throughout the eleven tracks that feature on this album.